Challenging a Drink Driving Charge: The Home Safe Rule Explained

Police on watch for driving offences, driver needs a traffic offence lawyer

Being charged with drink driving can be stressful, and you might hear pleading guilty is the easiest option. While that can be true in some cases, depending on your blood alcohol content, driving history, and arrest circumstances, exploring other options with a lawyer is crucial.

One potential defence is the home safe rule. This rule states that police cannot force you to take a breath test at your home or designated residence. If your lawyer uses this in your defence, the prosecution must prove the test wasn’t administered after you arrived home.

What exactly is “home”?

Legally, it’s not just your house, but your designated “home,” whether it’s a single or multi-occupancy property. Court rulings help define its boundaries:

  • Within your property boundary: You’re considered home anywhere within your property lines, even if not entirely fenced.
  • Specific areas within shared locations: While the entire hospital or caravan park isn’t your home, your designated space within such premises could be.
  • Parking spaces: Your driveway, carport, or designated parking spot in your apartment building can be considered part of your home.

What happens if you use this defence?

If your lawyer proves the breath test happened after you reached home safely, several outcomes are possible:

  • Evidence suppressed: The court might consider the breath test, arrest, and subsequent analysis inadmissible due to being illegally obtained.
  • Evidence deemed invalid: The breath test results might be unusable in court.
  • Refusal challenge: If you knew your rights and refused the test at home, you could challenge charges related to that refusal.

Remember, legal strategies are complex. Consulting an experienced traffic lawyer is crucial to assess if the home safe rule applies to your case and how best to utilise it for your defence.

We can help

Our traffic offence lawyers have successfully represented hundreds of clients in Newcastle, the Hunter and Lake Macquarie who have been charged with DUI offences and are available for urgent on-the-spot advice over the phone on 0425 391 534 or call our office on 02 4058 5844 in person at our office near the Criminal Court in Hunter Street, Newcastle.

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